Thursday, April 7, 2011

Breyer Horses

Breyer horses have been part of our home for over 15 years...all forty of the horses belong to my daughter.   As a child, my daughter certainly had her share of dolls, but never really played with them.  She wasn't one to "play house" or take care of her babies, unlike my niece who always had a baby doll with her.  No, my daughter really liked horses and wanted a real one of her own.  Since we lived in an area that would not allow horses, model horses were the next best option.  Thank goodness for Breyer.

According to the Breyer Horse website;, "Breyer Animal Creations began at the Breyer Molding Company, a Chicago, Illinois- based plastics manufacturing company.  Its first model horse, the #57 Western Horse, made its appearance in 1950.  It was a special order for the F.W. Woolworth Company, made to adorn a mantelpiece clock.  The company was then flooded with requests from people who saw it and wanted to know if they could purchase just the horse!  By accepting that one order, the Breyer Molding Company had changed the focus of its business and company direction forever!" In 1984, Reeves International, a US distributor of fine European toys and collectibles, acquired Breyer Animal Creations.   Reeves International gradually completed the transition from distributor to a manufacturing and marketing company in the past 20 years.  Breyer Animal Creations is its largest line.

"Breyer model horses, which begin as artist's sculptures, are all handcrafted and hand-painted with airbrushes and paintbrushes.  Approximately 20 different artisans handle each individual Breyer model from start to finish- a process, which, 54 years later, is still done by human hands, not machines.  Even today, no two Breyer model horses are ever exactly alike!"

"Llanarth True Briton" Champion Welsh Cob, #494, dark chestnut, 1994-1996
My daughter, who is now all grown up, dreamed of having horses.  Please note the plural...horses.   My husband grew up in the country and his family had a couple of horses when he was younger, and she knew this.  She wanted the same thing.  But, zoning would not allow horses where we live, and we couldn't imagine having a horse boarded.  So, we signed her up for horseback riding lessons and horse camp.  She loved every minute of it. 

Top- left to right: " Goliath the American Dream- Draft Horse"  Light Palomino, 1995, Commemorative Edition, #1,869 out of 10,000 produced, "Clydesdale Shire Mare"  #856, Dark Chestnut/Bay, 1992-1993, "Belgian Brabant" #837, Grey Dun, 1996-1997, "Sebastian, Percheron" #953, Grey Roan, 1996-1997, "Highland Clydesdale, #868, Bay, 1992-1995.
My in-laws, her paternal grandparents, lived on a beautiful lake in Northern Michigan.  They loved all of their grandchildren very much and were wonderful grandparents.  So, every summer, each grandchild was invited to spend a week with Grandma and Grandpa.  Each one was allowed to pick out what they wanted to do while they were there.   Some of the activities included:  fishing, tubing, canoeing, going to Hartwick Pines, visiting Mackinaw Island, swimming, golfing, shopping, going out for ice cream, fireworks, and horseback riding.  My father-in-law found a woman who owned horses, and was more than willing to have my daughter come to ride them, groom them, help in the barn, etc.  Again, she was in heaven.

Left to right:  "Greystreak Action Arabian"  #899, Grey, 1994-1995, "Clayton Quarter Horse", #911, Dapple Palomino, 1995-1996,  "Black Beauty"  #847, Black, 1991-1995.
The Breyer horses come in different sizes, my daughter chose to collect the largest size called the Traditional Size- approximately 12" long and 9" high, a 1:9 scale.  Unlike most collectors, she wasn't interested in obtaining all of the different types of horses, just the ones that she liked.  She always loved the Bays, her dream horse!

Left to right:  "Pluto the Lipizzaner"  #475, light grey, 1991-1995, "AQHA Ideal American Quarter Horse (AQHA Foundation Sire Series), #497, Chestnut, 1995- limited edition, "Rough 'n Ready"  #885, Quarter Horse dun, 1993-1995.
Since we live close to a university that has a veterinarian science specialty and the facilities to care for and manage large animals- horses, we were able to take her to see horse shows.  One of the the shows that I remember best was the Lipizzaner Horse Show.  The horses were amazing!

"CH Imperator"  #904, Dark Chestnut, 1994-1995.
Left to right:  "Princess of Arabia", #905, Light Dappled Grey, Jan-June 1995-limited edition, "Fugir Cacador, Lusitano Stallion, Buckskin, 1993- limited edition, "Medieval Knight"  #880, Grey/roan, 1993-1994.
The "Princess of Arabia", shown above left, came with a fringed and beaded horse blanket, a fringed harness, and beautiful princess doll.  Needless to say the blanket, doll, and horse blanket never made it out of the box.  To my daughter, apparently, the horse was beautiful all on its' own.

Top to bottom:  "Old Timer"  #745, Red Roan, 1991-1993, "Ichilay, The Crow Horse", #882, Light grey with a red and white feather, 1993.
I have always liked "Old Timer" but, "The Crow Horse" was one of my daughter's favorites.

Left to right:  "Cricket Quarter Horse Foal"  -Action Stock Horse Foal"  #934,  Brown Bay, 1995-1996, "Action Appaloosa Foal"  #810  Chestnut/leopard, 1989-1993.
Breyer had a number of molds and used these molds to make a variety of horses by painting them differently.  As you can see, these foals were made from the same mold, but the colors of the horses make them look very different.

"Marguerite Henry's Misty", #2, Palomino pinto, modern pattern, 1972-present,  "Marguerite Henry's Stormy", #19, Chestnut pinto, 1977-present.
These horses were modeled after the horses in the book Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry.  The book was written in 1947 and is about the Beebe Family of Chincoteague, Virginia.  in the book, the Beebe family tries to raise a filly, Misty, born to a wild horse.  Stormy is Misty's foal.  A wonderful story.

Top to bottom:  "Gifted"  #887, Bay, 1994- limited edition of 8,000, "Misty's Twilight", #470, Chestnut/paint, 1991-1995.
"Gifted" is another of my daughter's favorites (bay, right?),  My daughter has a high shelf that runs along 3 walls of her room.  This shelf is approximately 8' high. (She has a cathedral ceiling in her room).  Poor "Gifted" fell off of this shelf and broke his leg.  My husband fixed it pretty well, because it is not noticeable.  But, the amazing part is, after playing with the horses for years, this is the only horse that was broken.  There are no scratches, dents, dirt, etc., on any of the other horses.  They look brand new!  She took very good care of her horses.

"Misty's Twilight" is a decedent of "Misty",  from the Misty books by Marguerite Henry.

"Man O' War" #47, Red Chestnut, 1969-1995
My daughter has two "Man O' War" horses.   I guess we didn't communicate too well during gift giving times.  But, she obviously wanted to keep them both!  Some of the horses were gifts, but many of the horses were purchased by my daughter with money earned, or birthday money.  She told me recently that she knew where to get them where they were not too expensive.

Left to right"  "Freckle Doll, #888, bay/pinto, 1994-1995, "Rana", #863, dark grey, 1992-1993.
When I decided to show my daughter's model horse collection, I was a bit overwhelmed about how to go about it.  The Breyer Model Horse Company releases about 300 horses a year.  That's a lot of horses over a 15 year period!  Even though we saved all of the boxes from the  horses (yes, we did), the information on the boxes was limited.  Even worse, there were no pictures to show which horse went with which box.  My daughter was very helpful with the horses that she remembered the names of, but I was terrible in describing the horses.  I do not know horses, let alone the horse colors..dun, roan, paint, etc.  Some of the differences are very subtle!  (By the way, this was done over the phone, my daughter lives in another state.)  But, I found this great website:  All you have to do is determine the size, find the mold, and then match the colors.  Then all the information is available about each model.  This site even lists the artists responsible for each horse. This website solved my problem!

Left to right: "Scribbles" Paint Horse Foal, #893 Chestnut/pinto, 1994-1995, "Woodsprite" #875, Bay, 1993-1994,
"Satin Star" Draft Foal, #894, Dark Chestnut, 1994-1995, "Bright Socks", #895, Black Pinto, 1994-1995.
Breyer has many accessories available for their model horses, such as saddles, tack, horse blankets, stables etc.  My daughter's grandfather created a beautiful stable for her horses. 

"Bluegrass Foal"  #865, Blue Roan, 1992-1994, "Chincoteague Foal", #845, Buckskin, 1991-1993,
"Martin's Dominique Champion Miniature Horse", #898, Black, 1994-1995.
The Black Miniature Horse, above right, is the "Classic Size Horse", 1:12 scale, 9" long, 6" high.

Left to right "Arabian Mare", #5650, Dappled Grey, 1994-1995, "Draft Horse", Alabaster, 1994-1995, "Morgan Stallion, reddish bay, 1994-1995.
These small "Stablemates" were a part of a Saddle Club Collection.  Stablemates were on a 1:32 scale, 4" long, and 3" high.  Despite their size, they are highly detailed.

"Rugged Lark", #450, Bay, 1989-1995
This is my daughter's favorite horse, her dream horse- the prefect bay.

Most Breyer Horse collectors have a lot more horses than my daughter.  But, my daughter did not start out to collect them, but rather to play with and enjoy them.  The horses are still displayed in her bedroom, here at home.  I asked her if she wanted us to pack them up and she said that she would like them kept on her shelf until she has her own house, if that is okay with us,  and yes, that is okay with us!

Hope you enjoyed a little peak into the world of Breyer Horses.


  1. Wow- my horses look beautiful! Thanks for doing all the research on them- what a fun post!!

  2. Beautiful Collection!

  3. What an awesome collection!!! Our daughter too love to play with them instead of collect them. She pretended she would ride them to practice for a riding test in Pony Club which like the 4H Club.
    It perked up my day to see those pictures....our daughter is grown and will soon be out on her own...and yes, all those horsey memories are bittersweet (:
    Denise NY